Rubymusyk as Musical Genre...
Will MTV Someday Be Seeing Red?
Before we look at the points of contention between menstrual synchrony experts, let’s consider one of the positives of menstrual-cycle-as-rhythm: Rubymusyk!
Rubymusyk has a fairly simple definition, that is, music which evokes some aspect of menstruation.
Literally, the (average) "12-times-a-year menstrual cycle" is a rhythm; one can think of the interplay of hormones as an interplay of instruments; conception, pregnancy, birth, abortion, miscarriage, menopause, as well as oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy, adding new layers of sound, different aural textures.
If taken too literally, one might end up with a piece of music (in 4/4 time) 3 bars long, each bar containing 4 quarter notes (at least, that's what an ex-organist-in-a-church and this curator were able to come up with over the phone one night!)...and as most women on the planet today experience between 100-450 menstrual cycles, this "piece of music" would have to be repeated between 10 and 40 times, to represent any given woman's "menovulatory lifetime" -- whether this would evoke an enjoyable response in a listener is the question!
The above line of reasoning may seem crude (and absurd) to many musicians -- but it does demonstrate how the menstrual cycle can indeed be a starting point for a riff, a jam session, a set of lyrics...an entire CD, or symphony...not that musicians are obligated to create music in this way: But think of that scene in the movie "What's Love Got To Do With It?," where the Ike Turner character kneels before the Tina Turner character, his hands on her lower abdomen, telling Tina he wants her to sing from down there, from the gut. What does that mean exactly, "from the gut," for a female musician? That means from the uterus, right? At least some of the time…
As well, the menstrual cycle presents exciting lyrical possibilities. Try setting a goal of writing 10 “rubymusyk” lyrics – you may be surprised to find, by the time you get to lyric #5, you’re not writing lyrics about menstruation per se, but subject matter which emerged spontaneously out of your close focus on menstruation.
Rubymusyk also encompasses music specifically made to be listened to during the premenstrual phase and/or while menstruating. (By way of comparison, in the 1960's there was the concept of "head music.”) Isn’t it a bit strange that there is no musical genre meant to be listened to or danced to the week or so before women’s periods, a time of heightened and/or depressed energy for many. Nor is there a specific musical genre to listen to while having cramps. The stereotype of a woman with menstrual cramps is someone lying very still on a bed, clasping a hot water bottle, or lying in the bathtub; however, dancing can get rid of cramps!
Now, for a few examples of rubymusyk lyrics: (take a look at Ani DiFranco’s “Blood in the Bored Room” as well)
The Bloods, A Self-Help Song
© 1974 Debbie Lempke
you might think it's ludicrous
but when the moon is full I feel my uterus
and I know that the time a-comin', a-comin' soon
some sisters get down for menstruation
ain't no time for sad desperation
there's a new day comin' when you got the bloods again
Because you know your body is a workin' alright
if you had self-help you could watch all night
get your speculum at your neigborhood clinic
learn about your cervix and what's in it
there's a new day comin' when you got the bloods again.
Celebration for a Menarche
© 1976 Ruth Mountaingrove
Come into the loving and wel--come of women,
bring your blood marked face.
You a-re strong in your blood's con-nec-tion,
You are a wo-man among wo-men.
Come into the loving and welcome of women.
Be born into your own birth.
Be born from this moment into your own life.
You are a woman among women.
© 1994 Jamie Anderson. Go to www.jamieanderson.com
I was 12 when it happened, this mysterious thing
Overnight my hips grew and my uterus started to sing (la, la, la)
A voice said to me "You're mature, now you'll have fun
For today darlin' you are a woman"
Do the menstrual tango if you dare
Do the menstrual tango in your underwear
Do the menstrual tango, it'll make you grunt
For the next 40 years, it'll happen once a month
© 1999 Geneva Kachman
No ticket, station
Or even timetable
Just a penny laid on the track
That starts to vibrate
Every twenty days or so
And you know it's on the way
The countryside you’ll see
Will be all horizon
Sunset or sunrise blood red
You won’t remember
What high noon or midnight